Happy Birthday Belle: Recovering Geriatric Colic Case Turns 34

Belle recovering at home in Vero Beach, FL. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Penn.

When Jennifer Penn learned that her horse Belle was in the beginning stages of a bout with colic in February, she knew she was not ready to say goodbye to her beloved horse. The 33-year-old American Quarter Horse named Wagners Mint Joker, but known to Penn and her family as Belle, was the horse of a lifetime.

Penn’s mother, Becky Seton, and late grandfather, Bob Lowery, both of Vero Beach, FL, purchased a then 12-year-old Belle for Penn in 1998. “We were both 12 years old and it was a match made in heaven,” recalled Penn. “I had outgrown my show pony, so it was time to look for an all-around horse that I could show and have fun with. I am an only child, so she is like a sister to me. As I grew up, I experienced life right alongside her.”

Belle quickly lived up to her reputation as an all-around horse, actively competing with Penn at AQHA breed shows, open and 4-H circuits throughout Florida, show jumping events, and excelling in western trail competitions. Belle even pulled a cart for a time.

When Penn was 18, she started her own lesson program with Belle as her equine partner. “Belle provided a solid foundation for many riders, both young and old,” she said. “She not only taught me how to become a horsewoman, but she has also impacted so many young people’s lives and taught them showmanship skills. She’s special to me and my mother Becky, but also to so many people who have gone on to become very successful horsemen and horsewomen.”

Belle was partially retired in 2018, and was the guest of honor at Penn’s wedding the same year. The mare gave her last lesson about six months ago. She was still being ridden once a week with the occasional trail or pony ride for yet another up-and-coming rider.

Belle was thriving until colic threatened to disrupt her retirement.

On Saturday morning, February 1, Belle had not been drinking from her water buckets, did not finish her breakfast, and had only passed manure twice throughout the night before. Penn took these abnormal behaviors very seriously. “She’s tough as nails, so she was not showing any signs of discomfort; she was just standing there quietly in her stall. By knowing her habits we were able to identify a problem and make early decisions.”

Belle was initially treated by her primary veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Alderman of Alderman Veterinary Services based in Fellsmere, FL. Based on Dr. Alderman’s recommendation, Belle was transported to Dr. Karie Vander Werf’s Treasure Coast Equine Emergency Services in Palm City, FL, where an ultrasound on Sunday showed an impaction in the large intestines and displacement of the small intestines.

“It was very obvious to us that if we were going to consider surgery, we would have to do it sooner rather than later,” said Penn. “The decision was made to preserve her strength and transport her to Palm Beach Equine Clinic for Dr. Weston Davis to operate on her.

“It was because of his confidence in the surgery despite her age, that I was at peace with the decision to proceed with surgery,” continued Penn.

One of three board-certified surgeons at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Dr. Weston Davis performed the emergency colic surgery to remove a right dorsal impaction in the large colon and correct a severe displacement caused by altered motility within the intestines.

“Her primary veterinarian had done everything that she could medically do for the horse before referring the case to Palm Beach Equine Clinic,” said Dr. Davis. “In some colic cases, a prolonged course of medical treatments might result in the horse no longer being a surgical candidate. When things were not improving quickly enough, the horse was sent to us. Our main concern was to determine if Belle was as healthy a surgical candidate as she could possibly be.”

According to Dr. Davis, Belle’s physical examination and blood work revealed her to be a very healthy, albeit geriatric, colic case. “She is the oldest horse that I have performed colic surgery on. At the time of her arrival, Belle was well-hydrated with balanced electrolytes levels and stable organ systems. She was an overall good candidate for colic surgery, even at 33 years old,” he said.

While not every geriatric colic case is well-suited for surgical intervention, Dr. Davis considers two factors before moving forward with any surgery. “The surgery has to make sense for the horse, meaning that they are a healthy candidate with the ability to recover, and they have the will to live,” said Dr. Davis, who noticed how resilient Belle was from the moment he saw her. “The other point is that the surgery needs to be financially reasonable for the client. In Belle’s case, there was a will to live, and a strong emotional connection with this horse.”

After a successful colic surgery, Belle was moved to the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Hospital for recovery where she was cared for round-the-clock by Dr. Candelaria Chunco and hospital staff.

“Dr. Davis and Dr. Chunco were fantastic,” said Penn. “They were both so kind, and I received regular text updates. I knew that they were invested in her recovery. When she stood up after anesthesia, I remember Dr. Davis saying to me, ‘this horse is a badass,’ and she really is!”

Belle returned home to Vero Beach on February 19, and celebrated her 34th birthday on March 27. “Her recovery was slow, but she is doing well, regaining an appetite, working her way back to regular turnout, and starting to act like her old self again,” said Penn. “She is an incredibly special horse to not only me and my mother, but to my husband, family, friends, and the horse community here. It’s so wonderful to have her back home.”

Palm Beach Equine Clinic continues to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments and will update our clients, partners and fellow equestrians as the situation progresses. Contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 for questions or to speak with a veterinarian.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic
www.EquineClinic.com
561-793-1599

Hats Off to the Horses 2020 Continues with the Slim Shadey Chapeau

Dagmar Steiner and Slim Shadey at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 3, 2020 –  The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction continues this week with a new Derby-style chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the 11th consecutive year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off four handcrafted Derby hats between January and April, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s 200-plus retired racehorses. To date this online fundraiser has garnered nearly $40,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by graded stakes winner Slim Shadey, and it is showcased here by equine artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner.

The hat will be up for bid for 10 days only from 8 pm (EST) April 1st through 8 pm (EST) on April 11th. Interested bidders can go to the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and follow the link, or CLICK HERE to visit our eBay page.

To read more and to view additional images of the hat, CLICK HERE.

About the Horse

A two-time graded-stakes winner, Slim Shadey — by 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal (FR) out of the Chief’s Crown mare Vino Veritas — was bred in Great Britain by Phil Cunningham and spent two seasons racing throughout England and Ireland. He made his U.S. debut for Cunningham and trainer Simon Callaghan in 2012 at Santa Anita, kicking off what was to become his banner season.

In February of 2012 Slim captured his first graded stakes, the Grade 2 San Marco at Santa Anita (a race he would capture again in 2013). Then, in September, Slim took the top spot in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship, which served as a stepping stone to a run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf where he finished 8th (a few lengths behind the winner, Old Friends retiree Little Mike). By 2014, the now 6-year-old Slim began a series of claims. In 2018 Slim was claimed by owner Michael Hui for trainer Mike Maker.  After a series of unsuccessful starts for his new connections, the time finally came for Slim to hang up his racing plates.

About the Hat

Since Slim raced for several different stables Steinmann used a combination of his pink, black, and white silks for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat.

A large foundation was created using a base layer of soft pink dupioni silk. The brim was then trimmed with a single layer of pink silk organza ruffle, which allows the light to pass through the sheer fabric. A fancy black braiding was top stitched where the silk layer meets the brim edge. To further showcase racing silk colors, a large rose curl, created out of alternating layers of pink dupioni silk and white silk organza, adorns the front of the hat.

For the final touches, a medley of black and white silk organza “feathers” were added, a black satin sash encircles the crown, and a black pebble button edged in gold adorns the sash in the back.

The hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 21 inches end to end. The lining for the “Slim Shadey” was done is a soft pink satin to coordinate with the floral trim.

As a physical remembrance, several strands of Slim’s tail hair have been braided and woven into the trim.

Our thanks go out to artist Dagmar Steiner for helping with this year’s “Hats Off to the Horses” and also to Old Friends volunteer and photographer Laura Battles for her stunning images.

Bidding on the “Slim Shadey is open now.

For more information about Old Friends, see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org or call the farm at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions, from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can be seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Maggie Mae Designs (508) 430-1626, sally@maggiemae.com

FEI Sports Forum Online Session Content to Be Published by Mid/Late April

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has completely stripped back the FEI Sports Forum 2020 in order to address the time sensitive topics and delay the themes which can and should be discussed at a later stage.

The two sessions concerning FEI Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes and equine athletes will therefore be the only sessions to be covered (not as webinars) as part of the FEI Sports Forum 2020. The FEI will be publishing all the supporting documents and relevant deadlines for feedback by the mid/late April. Note that we have had to reconsider timelines for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions in view of the cancelled WADA symposium which should have taken place mid-March and the subsequent delivery of WADA support materials and implementation tools. Nonetheless, all the relevant materials for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions will be published here, and the community’s feedback alongside the full consultation process will be maintained.

Among the sessions on hold, Tokyo 2020 was a key theme covering practical and informative topics such as transportation, logistics, climate mitigation, and administrative matters. However, given the full 12-month delay of the Games, the FEI will be holding this session at the Sports Forum 2021 in order to ensure the timely delivery of the relevant and most up to date information around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (JPN). In the meantime, for all information relating to Tokyo 2020 logistics and planning, please don’t hesitate to visit our dedicated hub for all news and FAQs around the Covid-19 pandemic.

FEI media contact:

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI Jumping Calendar Task Force Agrees on Resolutions at First Virtual Meeting

The Jumping Calendar Task Force, one of eight discipline-specific task forces created by the FEI to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the FEI Calendar and propose ways of mitigating its effects, held its first meeting via teleconference on 2 April 2020.

The meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar and who will chair each of the discipline Task Forces.

The members who joined the teleconference call were the FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE), Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee Stephan Ellenbruch (GER), European Equestrian Federation President Theo Ploegmakers (NED), Jumping Athletes’ Representative Pedro Veniss (BRA), and President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association Peter Bollen (BEL). The FEI Deputy Jumping Director, FEI Calendar Administrator, and the Directors of the FEI IT, Legal, and Governance departments were also on the call.

Key topics discussed by the group during the almost three-hour meeting:

  • The deadline for National Federations to come back to the FEI with proposed alternative dates for Events looking to reschedule in 2020
  • The rules relating to date clashes and late-date/date change applications
  • Possible initiatives to help Organisers
  • The impact of the new Olympic Games dates on the FEI Calendar 2021

The conclusions and resolutions from the Jumping Calendar Task Force will now go to the FEI Board for consideration at a specially convened Board teleconference next week.

Following this, the principles agreed by the Board will be shared with the other seven Task Forces that will evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining. Each of these Task Forces, which will hold their meetings in the coming days, consists of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.

The FEI President is to be kept fully updated on the work of each of the Task Forces and, where required, will assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Virtual Windsor 2020 Set to Recreate Royal Windsor Horse Show Magic Online

The Organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show have launched VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020, a new online hub, which is free to the equestrian community. This enterprising initiative aims to help fill the gap left by the cancellation of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2020 due to Covid-19.

VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will host exciting features, the Show’s 200 shops, virtual Showing competitions, training videos, social media feeds, and the best of online content from previous Royal Windsor Horse Shows and from the equestrian world at the moment.

The shops that would normally have a physical presence at the Show will be displayed on the hub, giving users the opportunity to access some of equestrian’s best brands, including the latest technical equipment, country and lifestyle collections, and clothing. One of the key drivers of the “Virtual RWHS Shopping Experience” are the deals some of which will be available exclusively on the platform.

Those visiting VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 can also enter online equestrian competitions, including a variety of Showing classes adhering closely to the original Royal Windsor Horse Show schedule. Those wishing to compete will upload their entry in the form of a photo to put them in the running, with applicants able to enter via email or social media. A Royal Windsor Horse Show judge will then select 10 finalists, before announcing the winner. The winners of each class will then progress to the Championships being judged on Sunday 17 May 2020.

To further help fill the void, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will give users access to features from the official Royal Windsor Horse Show programme, content from the archives, guest bloggers, live Q&A sessions, and insights into Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021, which is already well into its planning stage. Giving equestrian fans a central hub to find training videos, light-hearted posts, the latest updates from top competitors, and tips from other riders, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will support trainers, coaches, physios, and riders who may be struggling during this time.

Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said: “This online platform is a way for the equestrian community to come together; it aims to support and entertain, keeping the spirit of Royal Windsor Horse Show alive during this difficult time. The platform involves everyone, from fans to riders, shops, competitors, and officials.  We wanted to find a way that we could support the shops at the show and engage with our competitors and customers and I’m genuinely excited to see what we can accomplish. Our hope is that it will go part of the way towards recreating the magic in Windsor Castle’s iconic private grounds that we all expected to see in May.”

Ben Buxton, Events Manager of Fairfax and Favor, said: “Virtual Windsor is an exciting real and online opportunity for Fairfax and Favor to have a presence at one of the leading horse shows of the year. Whilst we may not see customers (both new and existing) in person, we relish the opportunity to connect with anyone who would have seen us, and let them see our range, including the launch of our Spring Summer 2020 collection.”

VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 can be found at https://virtual.rwhs.co.uk/.  The site will be constantly updated and will remain in place throughout the year.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show will return next year from 12-16 May 2021.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

FEI Creates New Policy for Calculating World Rankings during Covid-19 Outbreak

As part of its measures aimed at minimising the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the FEI Calendar, the FEI has put in place a new policy for calculating the world rankings from 1 April until the Calendar returns to normal. The new policy was initially discussed with the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) specifically for the Longines Jumping Rankings, but will now be used for each of the disciplines where a rolling 12-month period is used for the calculations.

Starting from 1 April 2020, the period during which ranking points remain valid in Jumping (Longines Rankings), Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage will be prolonged by one month and will continue to be prolonged for an additional month with each new ranking until the competition calendar returns to normal.

Points earned in ranking competitions at events that take place during the current Covid-19 affected period will continue to count, and the maximum number of results that count for each athlete will remain, i.e. for the Longines Jumping Rankings best 30; Dressage best eight; Eventing and Para Dressage best six.

Rankings for the other FEI disciplines – Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining – are calculated on a fixed period (calendar year or other fixed period) so they will remain untouched. The change to the Driving Rules that means the discipline rankings will be based on a rolling 12 months does not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

For Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage, the following system will apply:

– The rankings established after 29 February 2020 remain unchanged (points valid for 12 months: best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020)

– The rankings established after 31 March 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 March 2020 (points valid for 13 months)

– The rankings established after 30 April 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 30 April 2020 (points valid for 14 months)

– The rankings established after 31 May 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 May 2020 (points valid for 15 months)

– and so on until the competition calendar returns to normal.

A working group will recommend to the FEI Board at what point the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal worldwide. As of that date, the rankings will continue to be calculated over the extended timeframes above, guaranteeing there will always be at least 12 months of normal competitions included in the calculation of the rankings.

The new system provides a level playing field for all our athletes as ranking points can still be earned in countries where the sport is able to continue, regardless of the length of time the current situation lasts, but athletes in countries where the sport is on hold will not lose points. An athlete’s ranking points can only improve, not decrease during this period, as the relevant number of best results in each discipline still applies.

Twelve months after the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal globally, the timeframe during which ranking points remain valid will be decreased by one month with each new ranking until the standard 12-month rolling timeframe has been reached.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

2020 Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Canceled

Lexington, Ky. – April 1, 2020 – It is with regret that in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis we must announce the cancellation of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, which were scheduled for May 5-10 and May 12-17, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park.  It is clear now that the country will at best be in a recovery phase and it will be too soon to ensure the safety of our staff, participants, and the wider community. Therefore, we must cancel.  Payments for stalls and entries which have already been made will be refunded.

We are hopeful that this trying time for all of us will pass and that life will return to some semblance of normality soon.  We will be publishing the prize list in the coming weeks for our Kentucky Summer Series.

Please exercise care in your daily lives and stay safe. For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Announces 2020 Cancellation

Devon, Pa. – March 30, 2020 – It is with deep disappointment that the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair (DHSCF) must announce the cancellation of the 124th DHSCF scheduled for May 21-31, 2020. This is only the second time that DHSCF has been cancelled – the first was for a three-year period during WWII. This decision was made only after significant evaluation of the far-reaching operational and financial implications. The organizers evaluated many options including postponement, and this decision was made independent of the CDC, USEF, and FEI as these organizations were unable to provide the necessary timelines for adequate planning. In fairness to the competitors, vendors, volunteers, and all others involved, the DHSCF believes that this decision is the best for everyone under the circumstances.

In the coming weeks, the DHSCF and its organizers will be contacting all stakeholders with information regarding cancellation processes. As the DHSCF grounds are now closed per state requirements, all staff is working remotely but will respond to all requests as quickly as possible.

The health and well-being of entire DHSCF community is of utmost importance at this time. The DHSCF encourages all of those involved to closely follow local, state, and national guidelines.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair looks forward to celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2021! For additional information, please visit our website at www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Old Friends Debuts Virtual Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 30 2020 –  Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Kentucky, debuted the first in a series of Virtual Farm Tours that will enable fans to continue to access the non-profit organization’s 100-plus equine retirees at its Georgetown location during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The series, dubbed “Monday Mornings with Michael”, is hosted by Old Friends founder Michael Blowen and will offer short visits with a few equine retirees each week. They will be posted on Old Friends social media platforms on Monday mornings and will also be available via their website and YouTube channel.

The first video showcases Old Friends’ oldest retires, multiple stakes winner Dinard, who is 32, and one-time claimer Archie’s Echo, who is 31.

You can see it on YouTube by CLICKING HERE.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Update on Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Competition

The Marshall & Sterling Insurance league recognizes these are extraordinary times. Upon careful consideration and high regard for recommendations from the CDC and local and state health officials, we have decided it is in the best interest of the League and its Member Riders and Shows to suspend all Marshall & Sterling sanctioned events effective immediately through May 3, 2020. For those competitions choosing to run, there will be no accumulation of points towards Marshall & Sterling Year-End Awards or Qualifying during this time.

The health, safety, and well-being of our members and the horse community is of utmost importance to the Marshall & Sterling League. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the appropriate government officials and health experts and will reinstate League sanctioning when the health concerns are lifted. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to follow these temporary guidelines to keep our members safe and healthy during this period.

We will post updates as needed on our website and the M&S Facebook page. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@HitsShows.com.

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